Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has hired former North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman as a top aide who will lead a state-mandated push to consolidate county, town and village services.
Kaiman, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in the Third District last year and once led the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, will head Suffolk’s intergovernmental affairs and communications team, administration officials said Monday.
Kaiman will make $178,733 a year. He replaces Jon Schneider, who left his $175,282-a-year job in February to head communications for LIU Post.
Kaiman will start with the county later this month when he steps down as president of Arden Claims Service, a Port Washington company that administers negotiated or court-ordered settlements, an administration spokesman said.
Sources said Kaiman had requested an opinion from the Suffolk County officials about whether he could do outside consulting while working for the county. No opinion was issued.
Bellone spokesman Jason Elan said Kaiman would “not be getting outside compensation from” Arden after he leaves the firm. Elan declined to say whether Kaiman would seek other compensation while working for the county.
Martin Scheinman, an arbitrator and mediator who owns Arden, said he hired Kaiman in October after Kaiman’s unsuccessful congressional run. “We were surprised by this development but we wish him well and we are glad he’ll be of help to Steve Bellone,” Scheinman said of Kaiman’s new job in Suffolk.
Kaiman will lead the “Shared Services” initiative for the county. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is promoting the plan, in which county executives statewide will place cost-saving plans before voters in November.
Kaiman referred all questions to the county executive’s office. But in a statement, he said, “As a former Town Supervisor on Long Island, I look forward to working with local officials in a manner that is meaningful and helpful to them to make government more efficient, less costly and ultimately work better for all the people we serve.”
Bellone in a statement called Kaiman “a natural leader and public servant with a proven track record of getting the job done.”
Kaiman, an attorney and a former Nassau County District Court Judge, was appointed by Cuomo in 2013 as storm recovery czar for Long Island after superstorm Sandy under the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program.
Legis. Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), the GOP caucus leader, worked with Kaiman on the storm recovery.
“He clearly took the brunt of all the criticism, because he was the face of New York Rising on Long Island. Whether he deserved that or not is anybody’s guess,” McCaffrey said.
Legis. Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue), deputy presiding officer, said Kaiman always was “helpful and responsive to me and my constituents whenever we reached out to him. It was a complicated and convoluted process. Until Jon came on, it was very difficult.”
Bellone has recently looked outside of Suffolk County to fill high-profile positions. Elan had worked for North Hempstead before working for the Cuomo administration. Assistant Police Commissioner Justin Meyers, who had previously been Bellone’s government spokesman and campaign spokesman, also previously worked in North Hempstead.